WHO, international funders urged to support family physicians training

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international organisations have been urged to support the training of family physicians in Zimbabwe to ensure high quality standards in primary health care.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Addressing delegates attending the annual joint congress of the College of Primary Health Care Physicians of Zimbabwe and the Pharmaceutical Society of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo on Friday, World Organisation of Family Doctors (Wonca) regional president, Henry Lawson called upon corporate and non-governmental organisations to support the training of family physicians.

“Wonca is calling on the government of Zimbabwe, WHO and other international organisations, corporate bodies and other funding agencies to support the training of family physicians in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Lawson encouraged all practicing general doctors to undertake formal training in family medicine, so that they could also train more doctors.

“Doctors in private practice across the country should update their knowledge in family medicine. This is necessary to ensure high quality standards in primary health care. To expedite training, there are various models available across Africa that this country can adopt,” he said.

“Wonca believes that no person should be denied the opportunity to have a family doctor, irrespective of their location, economic status, age or sex. This is the basis for the campaign on the need for every family to have a family doctor when possible in the near future.”

Meanwhile, Pharmaceutical Systems Africa programme director, Lloyd Matowe said the government should prioritise access to medicine and stop relying 100% on donors to provide health services.

He said without proper policies, medical care becomes inaccessible and very expensive.

“So its policy, the government must encourage everybody to have medical insurance if they can. The government must also prioritise access to medicine as critical. Without medicine there is no health service. We should be getting to a point where we work with donors to provide services to our people and not a situation where we are relying 100% on donors to provide services,” he said.

“We want to ensure that when somebody is going to a clinic there is collaboration between the person who is telling that person what is wrong and the person who is giving the medicine. We encourage the pharmacists to continue to work together, to continue to give the patient as a priority, to continue to be selfless in providing health services to the people of Zimbabwe.”

Zimbabwe’s public health sector is on the brink of collapse as government is failing to adequately fund the institutions. There a critical shortage of staff, equipment and medicine at most public institutions.

Matowe said insurance companies in Zimbabwe were struggling with cash flow because people were not paying their premiums on time.

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